East of West Review: The world’s ending (again)

The idea of the apocalypse fascinates me. Humans are forced to return to their more animal-like nature. The rules are either completely different or nonexistent. Nations fall, and new ones rise. The world is broken and this is reflected in the remaining humans.

A western apocalypse is something I had never thought of. I wasn’t sure that is would work either. Personally I find the western genre a repetitive classic. It doesn’t grow old, but it doesn’t really change. Sci-Fi on the other hand is constantly evolving as technology advances and imaginations expand. In East of West Volume 1 by  Jonathan Hickman (Writer), Nick Dragotta (Artist), these two genres are paired together to create a familiar feeling to an otherwise foreign world. 

The writing in this comic is great. Each issue begins with a small quote that sets the mood for that issue. These small quotes are probably my favorite part of the writing. Each quote is full of thought and meaning even though they are only one sentence long.

The writing throughout the book is great as well. It makes the reader look even closer at the pictures, trying to understand every piece of information that is being illuminated. Below is an example of an intense scene with great writing.

The art is of course what sets graphic novels and comics apart from books. The art in East of West uses colors very purposefully. The four horsemen are each a color that coincides with what they are.

The lack of color is also powerfully present in this comic. Black and white seems boring compared to bright colors, but East of West contains multiple characters and scenes that utilize these colors.

The lack of color in this world is off-putting. It sets these characters apart, something that is purposeful for the comic. The gore in different scenes seems even more gruesome because these characters stay spotless.

Death is featured above, his all white getup makes him even more otherworldly looking. The use of an all white death defies a stereotype of what death normally looks like. Death is usually featured in black which is associated with darkness and of course, death. This death starts as the stereotypical black and changes to become white. The white leaves nothing hidden, making death more fearsome since he is no longer shadowed. 

Death is the main character, someone who readers would not normally want to cheer for. He is of course feared, as is human nature. A twist that adds to the intrigue of this comic is that characters are hunting death because they want to bring about the apocalypse. Normally humans do not wish to end the world and cause major destruction. This comic twists different values and ideas that are imbedded in human nature and it is fascinating to see how Hickman and Dragotta utilize this.

This apocalyptic world full of cowboys and Indians has intrigued me and I plan to continue reading this comic. The world is ending, and I can’t just walk away from that.

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